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The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the forum through which the World Health Organization (WHO) is governed by its 194 member states. It is the world's highest health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group. Its predecessor, the Health Organisation, was an agency of the League of Nations.
Health policy can be defined as the "decisions, plans, and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific healthcare goals within a society". According to the World Health Organization, an explicit health policy can achieve several things: it defines a vision for the future; it outlines priorities and the expected roles of different groups; and it builds consensus and informs people.
A health minister is the member of a country's government typically responsible for protecting and promoting public health and providing welfare and other social security services.
The members of the WHA generally meet every year in May in Geneva at the palace of nations , the location of WHO Headquarters. The main tasks of the WHA are to decide major policy questions, as well as to approve the WHO work programme and budget and elect its Director General.
The original membership of the WHA, at the first assembly held in 1948, numbered 55 member states.The WHA has, currently, 194 member states.
In addition, seven agencies have observer status at the WHA – the Vatican, the Palestinian Authority, the Order of Malta, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and The Department of Health of the Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan, was invited on 28 April 2009 to participate in the WHA 2009 as an observer for the first time since losing its China seat in United Nations to People's Republic of China in 1971. The invitation was extended to "the Department of Health, Chinese Taipei."
Observer status is a privilege granted by some organizations to non-members to give them an ability to participate in the organization's activities. Observer status is often granted by intergovernmental organizations (IGO) to non-member parties and international nongovernmental organizations (INGO) that have an interest in the IGO's activities. Observers generally have a limited ability to participate in the IGO, lacking the ability to vote or propose resolutions.
The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, is the apostolic episcopal see of the bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, ex cathedra the universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, and a sovereign entity of international law. Founded in the 1st century by Saints Peter and Paul, by virtue of Petrine and Papal primacy according to Catholic tradition, it is the focal point of full communion for Catholic bishops and Catholics around the world organised in polities of the Latin Church, the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their dioceses and religious institutes.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland, and a three-time Nobel Prize Laureate. State parties (signatories) to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005 have given the ICRC a mandate to protect victims of international and internal armed conflicts. Such victims include war wounded, prisoners, refugees, civilians, and other non-combatants.
The main international policy frameworks adopted through WHA resolutions include:
In law, resolution is a written motion adopted by a deliberative body. The substance of the resolution can be anything that can normally be proposed as a motion. For long or important motions, though, it is often better to have them written out so that discussion is easier or so that it can be distributed outside the body after its adoption. An alternate term for a resolution is a resolve.
The International Health Regulations (2005) are a legally binding instrument of international law that aim to a) assist countries to work together to save lives and livelihoods endangered by the international spread of diseases and other health risks, and b) avoid unnecessary interference with international trade and travel.
The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes is an international health policy framework for breastfeeding promotion adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1981. The Code was developed as a global public health strategy and recommends restrictions on the marketing of breast milk substitutes, such as infant formula, to ensure that mothers are not discouraged from breastfeeding and that substitutes are used safely if needed. The Code also covers ethical considerations and regulations for the marketing of feeding bottles and teats. A number of subsequent WHA resolutions have further clarified or extended certain provisions of the Code.
In addition, the WHA has endorsed through resolutions a number of WHO action plans dealing with different areas to improve health around the world, such as:
The WHA is also responsible for the endorsement of the WHO Family of International Classifications, a series of internationally standardized medical classifications, including the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).
In her role as global patron of The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, and chair of the Maternal Mortality Campaign, Sarah Brown gave the keynote speech at the World Health Organization's 62nd WHA, alongside United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,asking "Where is the M in MCH?’ [maternal and child health]" in an echo of Allan Rosenfield's landmark Lancet article of 1985 – and highlighting that the numbers of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth were still the same 14 years later.
Among other actions, the 65th Assembly endorsed the Rio Political Declaration to address the social determinants of health, intended to spearhead support for all countries to adopt inclusive ‘ Health For All ’ approaches to health promotion.It also endorsed the first World Immunization Week.
In her address to the 66th WHA in May 2013, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan traced a brief history of revisions to the International Health Regulations following the SARS outbreak in 2002-3, the "first severe new disease of the 21st century." She observed that the two new diseases WHO is dealing with in 2013 are the novel coronavirus (MERS), from the same family as SARS, detected in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, and the first-ever human infections with the H7N9 avian influenza virus reported in China in 2013.She attributed the positive report by the World Health Statistics (May 2013) on dramatic improvement in health in the world's poorest countries from 1993–2013, to the emphasis placed on poverty alleviation by the Millennium Development Goals. She announced the emergence of global action plans for noncommunicable diseases, mental health, and the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment calling for a life-course approach which includes "equity through universal health coverage," preventive strategies and "integrated service delivery."
Dr. Margaret Chan declared at the Assembly that Intellectual Property, or patents on strains of new virus, should not impede nations from protecting their citizens by limiting scientific investigations. Following the 2012 MERS outbreak in Saudi Arabia, Deputy Health Minister Ziad Memish raised concerns that scientists who applied for a patent would not allow the MERS-coronavirus to be used for investigations by other scientists and were therefore delaying the development of diagnostic tests. Ten of the 22 people who died and 22 of 44 cases reported were in Saudi Arabia.Saudi Arabia–based microbiologist Ali Mohamed Zaki reported the first known case, a 60-year-old Saudi man who got sick in June, 2012 on ProMed-mail, a public health on-line forum then published more details including the virus’s genetic makeup and closest relatives. The Erasmus Medical Center "tested, sequenced and identified" a sample provided by Ali Mohamed Zaki. Erasmus MC and Dr. Zaki strongly refuted all allegations concerning a presumed lack of willingness to cooperate in research into the new MERS coronavirus, making diagnostic tests and virus specimens freely available to all research institutions around the globe.
The 67th WHA took place in Geneva on 19–24 May 2014. Among the more than 20 resolutions adopted by the Assembly included ones concerning strengthening of national drug management systems to address antimicrobial resistance; implementation of the Minamata Convention to protect human health and the environment from effects of exposure to mercury and mercury compounds; and improving access to essential medicines worldwide.Also endorsed was a global monitoring framework for maternal, infant and child nutrition.
Following the 67th WHA, the WHO's Director-General Dr Margaret Chan was criticized by the Association of Correspondents Accredited to the United Nations (ACANU) for not having spoken directly to the media during the course of the Assembly.
The 68th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) took place in Geneva 18–26 May 2015. The Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States. Its main functions are to determine the policies of the Organization, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget. Jagat Prakash Nadda assumed new presidency of WHA. India assumed the presidency after a gap of 19 years.[ citation needed ]
During the assembly the WHA agreed to the Global Malaria Strategy and Programme Budget for 2016–2017, polio, International Health Regulations, strengthening surgical care, WHO's reform of its emergency and response programme, antimicrobial resistance, immunization gaps, malnutrition, air pollution, and epilepsy. Annual health awards were given by the Director-General of WHO and the President of WHA.
The 69th World Health Assembly took place 23–28 May 2016, and agreed to pursue the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a comprehensive set of foundational steps, prioritizing universal health coverage, working with actors outside the health sector to address the social, economic and environmental root causes of antimicrobial resistance and other human health problems, to continue expanding efforts to address poor maternal and child health and infectious diseases in developing countries, and to focus upon equity within and between countries. Delegates decided to invite the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s (WHO FCTC) Conference of the Parties (COP) to provide information on outcomes of this biennial event to future World Health Assembly meetings.[ citation needed ]
The 70th World Health Assembly took place 22–31 May 2017.
For the first time since 2009, Taiwan was completely excluded from the WHA, following political pressure from the People's Republic of China.
The 71st World Health Assembly took place 21–26 May 2018.
Taiwan was invited as an observer to the WHA for 8 years between 2008 and 2016. However, since the 71st WHA in 2017, China has continued to block Taiwan's participation in WHA as an observer.United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar have voiced support for Taiwan's inclusion in WHA as an observer.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory disease of zoonotic origin caused by the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Between November 2002 and July 2003, an outbreak of SARS in southern China caused an eventual 8,098 cases, resulting in 774 deaths reported in 37 countries, with the majority of cases in China and Hong Kong according to the World Health Organization (WHO). No cases of SARS have been reported worldwide since 2004. In late 2017, Chinese scientists traced the virus through the intermediary of civets to cave-dwelling horseshoe bats in Yunnan province.
Coronaviruses are species of virus belonging to the subfamily Coronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae, in the order Nidovirales. Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and with a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. The genomic size of coronaviruses ranges from approximately 26 to 32 kilobases, the largest for an RNA virus.
The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is a treaty adopted by the 56th World Health Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland on 21 May 2003. It became the first World Health Organization treaty adopted under article 19 of the WHO constitution. The treaty came into force on 27 February 2005. It had been signed by 168 countries and is legally binding in 181 ratifying countries. There are currently 15 United Nations member states that are non-parties to the treaty.
Coronaviridae is a family of enveloped, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA viruses. The viral genome is 26–32 kb in length. The particles are typically decorated with large (~20 nm), club- or petal-shaped surface projections, which in electron micrographs of spherical particles create an image reminiscent of the solar corona. Members of this family are thus referred to as coronaviruses.
Global health is the health of populations in the global context; it has been defined as "the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide". Problems that transcend national borders or have a global political and economic impact are often emphasized. Thus, global health is about worldwide health improvement, reduction of disparities, and protection against global threats that disregard national borders. Global health is not to be confused with international health, which is defined as the branch of public health focusing on developing nations and foreign aid efforts by industrialized countries. Global health can be measured as a function of various global diseases and their prevalence in the world and threat to decrease life in the present day.
The Erasmus University Medical Center based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, affiliated with Erasmus University and home to its faculty of medicine, is the "largest and one of the most authoritative scientific University Medical Centers in Europe." Furthermore, the hospital is the largest of the eight university medical centers in the Netherlands, both in terms of turnover and number of beds. The Erasmus MC ranks #1 of the top European institution in clinical medicine and #20 in the world according to the Times Higher Education rankings.
The Health Metrics Network (HMN) was a global health partnership focused on strengthening health information systems in low and middle income countries, launched in May 2005 during the 58th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) and dissolved on 31 May 2013. Hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, the HMN's stated purpose was to make available timely and accurate health information by encouraging joint funding and development of country health information systems, to improve health and save lives.
In December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 64/134 proclaiming the year commencing 12 August 2010 as the International Year of Youth.
The Establishment of World Health Organization occurred on 7 April 1948, when its new constitution was ratified by a twenty-sixth nation. Its establishment followed a period of discussions and consultation following World War II and the formation of the United Nations, of which it formed part.
Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV), or EMC/2012 (HCoV-EMC/2012), is a novel positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus of the genus Betacoronavirus.
Lin Tzou-yien is Taiwanese physician. He was the deputy Minister of Health and Welfare and served as acting Minister in October 2014 upon the resignation of Chiu Wen-ta. Upon the appointment of Chiang Been-huang, Lin returned to his previous post until he was promoted again to head the ministry as part of Lin Chuan's incoming cabinet, which took office on 20 May 2016. Lin was succeeded in office by Chen Shih-chung on 7 February 2017.
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), also known as camel flu, is a viral respiratory infection caused by the MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Symptoms may range from mild to severe. They include fever, cough, diarrhea, and shortness of breath. Disease is typically more severe in those with other health problems. Mortality is about one-third of diagnosed cases.
MERS coronavirus EMC/2012, or MERS coronavirus Erasmus Medical Center/2012 is the name of a strain of coronavirus isolated from the sputum of the first person to become infected with what was later named Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, or MERS-CoV.
Since 2012, an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus has affected several countries, primarily in its namesake, the Middle East. The virus, which causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), is a newly emerged betacoronavirus that was first identified in a patient from Saudi Arabia in April 2012.
The following lists events in 2014 in Saudi Arabia.
The World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) is an international non-governmental organisation best known for its role in advocating and awareness-raising for the elimination of viral hepatitis. The organisation represents 249 members from 84 countries worldwide. WHA holds official relations status at the World Health Organization (WHO), and consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
The 2018 Middle East respiratory syndrome outbreak is an ongoing outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV). The outbreak is expected to have originated from Saudi Arabia.